As the majestic snowflakes fell, family and friends came together to shop, toast the season, reminisce and indulge in a gourmet feast.
It sounds like a wonderful Christmas tale but, in fact, it was … well, it was March 2.
So, what gives? What would make people leave the warmth of their homes and trek Center Street on a random, mid-winter weekend?
Some said it was a love for Lewiston. Others pointed to special sales, dining deals and the promise of prizes across the business district.
In fact, it was all of the above – and it was all thanks to the Lewiston Business Group. The vast majority of retailers, professionals and restaurateurs banded together to beat the blues normally associated with this time of year.
Their joint effort on Saturday, titled “Sip. Shop. Eat!”, provided a fun excuse to get out, get some new clothes (or art, “Star Wars” collectibles, metal works, dessert mixes … Deal Realty’s lip balm), and grab a bite from eateries located within one of the country’s top culinary destinations. The event was a celebration of all the village has to offer, and residents were out in full force.
Crowds came from across Western New York to “Sip. Shop. Eat!” At Inspirations on Canvas, they could do all three. Customers came to browse and buy Kathy Pignatora’s art, try an hors d’oeuvre and sample selections from Niagara Craft Spirits. Pictured, from left, are Kathy, distillery owner Todd Snyder, Dr. Neal Pignatora, Buffalo’s Pat Monroe and Wheatfield's Gigi Boyd.
“Sip. Shop. Eat!” was an idea that began with Kathy, in partnership with …
Laura Mann Falsetti, whose You & Me Boutique was a popular stop for shoppers all afternoon. Patrons found women’s clothing, gifts and custom jewelry, and were assisted by Mann Falsetti, shown center, as well as Katie Reynolds and Vanessa Ujeski.
You & Me also offered a sneak peek at gift certificate-stuffed baskets, which customers entered to win. All they needed was a punch card …
Like the one offered at John Lang Designs. The custom metal art gallery also was serving up Niagara Wine Trail samples. Shoppers perused sculptures and centerpieces as they chatted with the owner, who is pictured.
Spice Harbor was the place to be for some serious samples. Once inside, guests marveled at the wide array of mixes – snacks, soups, desserts – you name it – and left with many make-and-eat goodies. Owner Kristen Brolinski said sales were sharply above a typical March weekend.
Deal Realty also had an influx of people looking for a new home, stopping in for a sample from the Brickyard Brewing Company, and, yes, taking some custom Deal-branded lip balm, hand sanitizer and pens. Pictured, from left, are David Giusiana of Giusiana Architects & Engineer, Jamie Symmonds of Willow Consulting, BBC brewmaster John Meteer, and Tom Deal.
While many women were thrilled with the abundance of clothing, makeup and jewelry options along Center Street, men could be heard singing the praises of Viva Nostalgia. Inside the store, they listened to tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, while finding a vast array of movie, TV and pop culture collectibles. Of course, women shopped there, too. Three River Region guests are pictured with store owner Roger Passero.
Meanwhile, Brewed and Bottled Craft Beer Shop was jam-packed with patrons who’ve come to love the 10-tap hybrid bar/retail store, which offers an abundance of bottles, cans, crowlers and growlers. Owners Chris and Jessica Budde, front, were hustling around the counter, serving regulars and mingling with new customers.
Brewed and Bottled will soon begin a new chapter, at another, to-be-determined location. Facebook has been teeming with comments from people disappointed to learn the store lease was not renewed. That said, if Saturday was any indication, Brewed and Bottled’s flocks of fans will undoubtedly follow the Buddes to the next site.